Poppy-day solecism

How often at this time of year do we witness the transposition of Laurence Binyon’s words from his poem For the Fallen?  Outside Christ Church United Reformed Church in Reading Road, Henley-on-Thames there is a little memorial. 

Henley poppy plaque

Memorial outside Christ Church, Henley

It says ‘They shall not grow old’, instead of the much more elegant, haunting and correct ‘They shall grow not old’.  The meaning is entirely different.


Christ Church, Henley. Photo: Michael Ford licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Licence

That led me to look at the stone memorial-plaques on either side of the main entrance to Henley town hall, and to see whether all the men on the Christ Church memorial were named there.  Interestingly, they are not: I could not see John Frame, Bernard Jeffreys or Alfred Tripp.

Town hall plaque 1

Town hall plaque 2However, there is a full list of names on a board which was installed in 2014 just inside the town hall front door.  Curiously it bears the name Burnard Jeffrey not Bernard Jeffreys so it looks like someone has made an error, either there or on the Christ Church memorial.  Alfred Tripp is on the full list so presumably he is the same as L Tripp on the plaque outside the town hall.  There is more research to be done.

There are similar discrepancies between the memorials down the road in Shiplake: the bronze plaque in the church and the Celtic Christian cross in the village bear some different names.



About campaignerkate

I am the general secretary of the Open Spaces Society and I campaign for public access, paths and open spaces in town and country.
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One Response to Poppy-day solecism

  1. I discovered that families and friends in Kington were asked to go into one of the butchers shops and leave the names to go on the war memorial in 1920. This lead to some omission, and a duplications, and probably spelling mistakes. So certainly here the collection of names was very haphazard.

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